Little Red Mailboxes are striking symbols of hope

Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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Pretty much everyone hits a low point sometime throughout their life. Hopelessness sets in, waves of sadness can crash in on us and there are times when we have no idea who or what to turn to.

Sue Goodrich hit this point in her life after the sudden death of her mother. Consumed by grief, Goodrich would often visit the Glenmere Public Beach Access in Kill Devil Hills, where a gazebo sits atop a rising set of stairs to overlook the ocean.

As she would cry in the gazebo, Goodrich said she felt her mom reaching out and saying: “Sue, if you feel sad, help somebody else out.”

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Remembering an idea she had way back when, Goodrich decided to slowly start making her thoughts into a reality.

Goodrich said she would run into Roy Edlund, the OBX Beach Bum photographer, at Starbucks every so often. Goodrich would talk with Edlund about her visits to Glenmere and eventually Edlund gave her a beautiful print of the beach access.

“Something was missing,” Goodrich started, “the Little Red Mailbox.”

After approaching the Town of Kill Devil Hills with her idea for installing a mailbox of hope, Goodrich said the town embraced the concept. In July of 2014, a small bench was built in the gazebo along with a bright red mailbox, containing a little notebook.

“I had no idea how this would take off,” Goodrich told The Coastland Times. People from all across the country would come and see the mailbox. They would write inspiring quotes, letters of loss and leave trinkets in the mailbox for Goodrich to find and read weekly.

The Town of Kill Devil Hills started posting “Mailbox Monday” updates on their Facebook page, with photos of the hopeful notes and positive messages. Goodrich said the town is even creating a digital archive of all the notes left in the mailbox at Glenmere.

This sentiment of hope spread soon after Goodrich’s first mailbox was installed. Now there are 18 Little Red Mailboxes with locations in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Goodrich mentioned that the one mailbox, located in Douglassville, Pa., was started after a mother and her daughter went to visit Glenmere. “She was trying to help her daughter heal from her best friend that took her own life,” Goodrich explained.

The message of the mailbox was so powerful that the mother decided to bring it back with her to their own community, where others were suffering and could use some hope.

“The truth is that everybody needs hope,” Goodrich said. To help spread that message of hope to people who cannot access the mailboxes daily, Goodrich also posts pictures of the letters, notes, cards and postcards that people leave to her Facebook and Instagram pages.

Others have done the same, including Adrienne Palma, a resident of Manteo. Palma had a mailbox installed at the north end of Manteo. She also checks the mail there on Mondays and will share the thoughts found within through another Facebook page.

The purpose of the Little Red Mailbox is to share thoughts or messages to help brighten someone’s day; someone who may be going through a tough time or needs some inspiration.

It stands as a striking symbol of hope, reminding us all that everyone goes through hardships, but the world will always be filled with people to help get us through.

To learn more and see what others have left in Little Red Mailboxes, visit the following sites:




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